Greener Textiles Simple with The Sustainable Angle
Haven’t heard of them? Neither had I until I had the opportunity to go to London to research what is being done there in sustainable fashion and environmentally inspired art. From their website:
“ The Sustainable Angle is a not for profit organisation that initiates and supports projects which contribute to minimizing the environmental impact of industry and society, and that help make it easier for companies, institutions and individuals, to make better informed decisions when it comes to sustainability.”
They fit perfectly into what I was looking for, an organization advocating for and educating designers, this is the type of thing I’m hoping to bring from fashion design to costume design. I spent about an hour with Martin, a research fellow at Sustainable Angle who focuses in sustainable and humane wool. He was welcoming, flexible, answered all of my questions and engaged in excellent discussion on the challenges of finding more sustainable textiles. Originally I signed up for a class but ended up with a private meeting because of extenuating circumstances (though I hope I can make it back for a proper class or their Expo one day!).
Sustainable Angle introduced me to a broad range of fabric types from a wide range of material. My favorite was one made of orange peels, finding a biodegradable source for a textile and also diverting waste from the citrus industry (not to mention it felt soft and draped beautifully)! Their textile library had something that suited almost every need. One of my complaints in searching for sustainable textiles is that I feel like all I find is is bland, muted solids, not here. Sustainable Angle had soft fabrics with a lovely hand, less toxic tanned leathers, synthetic leathers from a variety of interesting sources, trims, knits, prints, bright colors and even stretch lace! I was really inspired by what was available. The one downside is that most of these fabric sources are for designers doing big runs and ordering hundreds or thousands of yards/meters at a time, not conducive to theatrical or personal use. You can find a lot of this information in their Future Fabrics Virtual Expo.
In addition to spending time touring through their extensive sample collection, Martin and Sustainable Angle equipped me to go out into the world and source my own fabric. I walked away with a list of certification organizations to look for when sourcing as well as a list of questions to ask potential suppliers. It was an incredibly comprehensive list considering recycled fibers, organic, low impact dyes, worker ethics, and the locality of the source, among other things. I fully plan to implement these questions the next time I’m sourcing for a show. While I know it won’t be easy, and I don’t think I’ll get to 100%, I feel now at least I have a cheat sheet to get me closer.
Disclaimer: While I was asked to write about my experiences, I was not paid for this review in any way. I’m just a fan, they do cool stuff and you should check them out.